MVP declines comment on GMA Network speculation; GMA climbs

Posted at 12/27/2011 11:54 AM | Updated as of 12/28/2011 7:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and the ABC TV-5 network, declined to comment on speculation he's in talks to buy GMA Network Inc., the country's second-biggest broadcaster.

GMA shares climbed 4.8 percent amid the speculation, even as the Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 0.6 percent.

In a mobile phone text message, Pangilinan said he's on "half vacation'' mode at the end of a "busy'' 2011. An official statement would come "in due course,'' he said.

Pangilinan's 2011 deals were led by PLDT's acquisition of Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc., owner of Sun Cellular.

Separately, GMA Network told the Philippine Stock Exchange there's "no truth'' to a report that Pangilinan offered to buy it for P500 billion, the price reported by at least one blog. GMA's market value is just about P22 billion.

Entertainment news website PEP.PH reported a "mind-boggling'' price being offered by Pangilinan for the network.

At the stock exchange, shares of GMA gained 4.8% to close at P6.50 on Tuesday.

It's not the first time Pangilinan, chief executive of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co., has been reported to be in talks to buy GMA. There were reports as early as 2001.

Speculation died down after PLDT's pension fund bought ABC TV-5 in 2009 from Antonio (Tonyboy) Cojuangco. TV-5 has since been hiring stars from GMA and ABS-CBN, the largest network by sales. Former ABS-CBN star Sharon Cuneta recently accepted a reported P1 billion package to join TV-5.